A group of American White Pelicans swimming along the marsh. Photographed in 2017 at Fontenelle Forest Wetlands, Bellevue, Nebraska.
The American white pelican rivals the trumpeter swan, with a similar overall length, as the longest bird native to North America. Both very large and plump, it has an overall length is about 50–70 inches, courtesy of the huge beak which measures 11.3–15.2 inches in males and 10.3–14.2 inches in females. It has a wingspan of about 95–120 inches. The species also has the second largest average wingspan of any North American bird, after the California condor. This large wingspan allows the bird to easily use soaring flight for migration. The plumage is almost entirely bright white, except the black primary and secondary remiges, which are hardly visible except in flight. From early spring until after breeding has finished in mid-late summer, the breast feathers have a yellowish hue.
The American white pelican does not dive for its food. Instead it catches its prey while swimming. American white pelicans like to come together in groups of a dozen or more birds to feed, as they can thus cooperate and corral fish to one another. The birds also steal food on occasion from other birds. White pelicans are known to steal fish from other pelicans, gulls and cormorants from the surface of the water and, in one case, from a great blue heron while both large birds were in flight.
Note Card Information
- Black border on the front
- Includes envelope
- Includes 5×7 Protec Clos Crystal Clear Quality Bag
- Photo card is 4″ x 6″ (Window opening 5-5/8″ x 3-5/8″)
- Finished photo card size is 5″ x 7″
- Photo cards are made from recycled textured card stock and printed with a soybean-based ink.